Conference Call: Michael Burns and Jay Heaps

General Manager Michael Burns and Head Coach Jay Heaps field questions from the media

Michael Burns: Good morning everyone. I guess I’ll just start with an update on Jose Moreno. Earlier this morning I spoke with both Jose Moreno and his representative. Currently, Jose is in transit to Bogotá [Colombia] to set up his appointment at the U.S. Consulate in Bogotá to obtain his visa to travel to the U.S., which we don’t have an exact date yet. He needs to set up the appointment, go back to the Consulate, get his visa. Once that’s done and we have a date on his appointment, we can let people know that. At this point we don’t have an exact date … [inaudible] … the player has assured us that he does in fact want to come to the U.S. and play for the Revolution and we’re going to do our best to expedite the process as quickly as possible to get him in New England and in a Revolution jersey. That’s the latest update that I can provide to you and I’m happy to answer any additional questions you may have on that topic.

On the actual signing of Jose Moreno…
Michael Burns: [With regards to] Jose Moreno, all the contract documents have been signed. The player’s individual contract, the loan agreement with the club – so all the contract documents are signed. But there are three things need to take place before a player is officially added to your roster. One is that all the contract documents are signed: which I just said that’s all been completed. Two: is the international transfer certificate, which is the ITC, which is actually goes from club to federation to our federation to MLS which registers the player to play in this country. The third is the visa process. So at this time, only one of the three have been completed, we do anticipate to receive the ITC any day and like I said the visa process, generally speaking, takes the longest time to complete.

On if Jose Moreno mentioned any dissatisfaction on his side when the two last spoke…
Michael Burns: Like I said, I just got off the phone with him about twenty minutes ago. His only words to me were: he assured me and the Revolution that he does in fact want to come to MLS to play for the New England Revolution. That’s the only assurance he gave us and so we’re proceeding and taking his word for that.

On if Jay Heaps personally feels ready to make his coaching debut…
Jay Heaps: Absolutely. I’m certainly ready. I’ve been ready for this for a while. When I was hired back in November, Mike Burns and I basically holed up ourselves in a room to start this process – to really start going through the changes that needed to be made and where we wanted to go. When you get on the field and you go into a preseason, like we’re going against MLS competition, that was a key for me. I like playing domestically for preseason. I like playing against teams we’re going to see during the season. As much as this is a preseason, [we’re] starting to really build what we’re going to expect from a coaching staff and a player standpoint.

On if Jay Heaps feels good where the team is at this point and if the team is ready…
Jay Heaps: We feel like we’ve made steps. It’s very cliché, but I say all the time: every time we step on the field we want to make a step forward. There are areas where we feel we have strengths, and there are areas for improvement. Every day if we can – after training, after a game – can assess those positively and negatively and hopefully correct the next day and push that step forward.

On if playing the defending champion LA Galaxy on Saturday in the Desert Diamond Cup Championship is a good kickoff to go into the regular season…
Jay Heaps: Yeah, one of the things that I’ve asked the players and I’m really excited for how they’ve responded is: we want to compete. We want to compete in everything we do. It’s their job to go on the field and just try to win every little battle, win every little instant that they can during the game. As a coaching staff, it’s our job is to manage the minutes right now, so from this preseason, we’ve had [core] players back. We’ve wanted to make sure we’re getting minutes for certain players in the right way. Going into this final game, we’re hitting stride on our Saturday-Saturday-Saturday schedule that I think will help prepare us as we start the beginning of this year.

On Moreno’s short-term (loan) deal and if it helps trialists like Alec Purdie and Bjorn Runstrom solidify a contract…
Michael Burns: I wouldn’t relate those two. What I would say is that Jose Moreno is not the only player we have on loan. Just because a player is on loan, there’s always a transfer at the end of the loan period. In Jose Moreno’s case, it’s a multi-year deal at the league’s option after the first year. Just because Jose Moreno is on loan wouldn’t have any bearing on signings of other players.

Jay Heaps: Alec Purdie and Bjorn Runstrom are also in different categories and they don’t really affect each other in the sense that if you’re looking at those players – we look at all of our signings. I’ve said from the beginning, we want to get better, 1-28. Keeping in mind that we have eight international slots and we have to really take those into account. So Alec Purdie falls in a different category, being a U.S. citizen college player. Bjorn Runstrom is someone we have to take a hard, long look at within the parameters of what the league allows.

On the importance of getting Moreno here and the payoff of getting him in…
Jay Heaps: It’s like anything, we want to get him here so he can assimilate with the group, so we can start incorporating him in training, get him fit and just kind of relax him a little bit: get him set up with what we’re trying to do and get him on board with the direction this team is going. It has been a bit of an ordeal and we’re not exactly sure which way or why it took this turn. Like we’ve said, we’ve always expected the player to be here come March 1st.

On addressing this with the club …
Jay Heaps: Well, that’s an easy one. We don’t hide anything. We’ve been pretty open with the players and where we were with this along the way. We’ve had a lot of closed door conversations about this as a group. We want to continue to be a tight-knit locker room so these conversations are all above-board. When Jose gets here, the players are going to welcome him.

On the importance of getting the results the club has seen so far in Arizona…
Jay Heaps: I think it’s important. Where we are as a group and some of the competitive advantages we have with some of our players is that they want to compete, they want to go out there and make themselves better. When you get the platform here in the preseason to play against MLS teams, certainly, when you take advantage of those opportunities you gain a little bit of confidence. Right now, whether we won the games or lost the games, I know we’re taking the right steps forward. With the results comes that confidence. We are. We’re taking strides. There’s always room for improvement in that regard in the sense that we did a lot of good things in each of the matches but there were certainly areas where we feel were coachable and correctable.

On the timeline of Jose Moreno stepping on the field…
Michael Burns: That’s a real good question and impossible one to answer. I guess the best way I can answer is that today he will set up his appointment at the [U.S.] Consulate in Bogotá; the Consulate will give him a date that he is to return on. If we’re not happy with that date, then we’ll get our immigration attorney involved to try to expedite it and get it as close to today as possible. We are dealing with the U.S. Government; there are no certainties in when that date will be. But if it’s not by the beginning of next week when he makes that appointment on his own, then like I said, we’ll get our immigration attorney involved and we’ll try to push it up as quickly as we can. Once he gets that – and each country is different – sometimes you you’ll get your passport back and stamped in the same day, sometimes it takes a couple of days after your appointment. We don’t exactly know; what I can say is that we’ve had pretty good success with both Fernando [Cardenas] and John [Lozano] at the Consulate in Bogotá, so we’re hoping once we get his date, that the whole process will be expedited. But I can’t sit here and say that for sure that he’ll be in uniform by March 10th. That’s the hope and the goal, but we do anticipate him to be in the U.S. within the next – I’d say, maximum – 10-14 days and that’s even a little bit of speculation going on past examples.

On how long Jay Heaps expects it will take to get Moreno ready for the field…
Jay Heaps: First and foremost we have to get him up to speed on a health [basis], we want to make sure he’s fully healed from a muscle injury. I think that we move at that pace when we get him here. It would be premature to tell you that we’d want him to start on the 10th [of March, at San Jose] or the next game. It’s just a matter of how he’s going to fit in, first from a fitness level and secondly from a player standpoint of what are we doing at that time, what are we looking for and what do we need.

On the trialists in Arizona, specifically Florian Lechner and Bjorn Runstrom and the timetable for making a decision on them …
Jay Heaps: We’re not just looking at the games; we’re also looking at them in training. That’s what’s nice about having them in camp is that you also get to see how they interact with the players around them. We’re looking at them in a variety of different situations so our timetable is getting close. We still want to kind of get everything on the board and find out exactly where we are from a roster standpoint, from an international standpoint, and what do we see happening down the road and really make some educated decisions. We’re getting close to those kinds of decisions that we’re going to have to make. Very close.